49. Secrets to Happiness– Sarah Dunn
Well, I remember reading her book The Big Love and thinking that it was chick-lit that had something sturdy under it. A story, I guess. A voice that was unique. Am I remembering this right? Something about heartbreak. I just read the GoodReads synopsis and there’s not much there to tag my memory. So I read it and I liked it enough to pass it along to my best friend, and I really don’t pawn terrible books onto people, so it was OK. This one…meh. There are things about I didn’t like. For instance, there are way too many point of view characters and I just didn’t care about most of them. I don’t mind getting the full story sometimes, but I liked the protagonist in this book enough that I wish Dunn had stuck with her, let her walk around and act more. Also, there are a lot of time lapses in this book. Which I don’t mind if used to some purpose, but it seemed that the purpose here was to keep the author from having to write some scenes she didn’t want to write. It seemed to me that we spent quite a bit of time in this book meandering, and even if that ends up being kind of the point (in love and in the search for God, because Dunn kinda sneaks that landmine in at some point, we humans tend to meander a bit), I didn’t enjoy it. I did enjoy the protagonist, her voice. It was worth reading, and there are dogs. Although not super cute or super involved dogs, so don’t let the cover fool you, as it invariably is trying to do.
A dog book I liked better is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Don’t even talk to me about Marley and Me, please. I’ve just noticed that the cover of the Stein paperback is different than the hardcover. Which is not that weird, except that the books are almost exactly the same, except the dogs on the cover. In the hardcover, you can only see the very top of the dog’s head. It’s a yellow lab, why not? Aren’t all dogs yellow labs? And then the paperback has MORE of the dog’s head, only it’s not the same dog. It’s a yellow lab, but not the SAME yellow lab, and this yellow lab is looking at you. Also, it’s a young dog, and the dog in the book is an older dog. I don’t want to give anything away, but that’s sorta the point. Ah well. Stein’s book got Marley-ized. I hope it sells more copies because of it. Except for the weird prologue at the end, which I’m sure most normal readers will flat-out enjoy (but I couldn’t endorse), it was a good book for a dog book. For a book in which the narrator is, that is, a dog. Trust. It’s good.